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Economy in Brief

FOMC Holds Interest Rates Unchanged; Economy Upgraded
by Tom Moeller  March 15, 2011

As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee today left the Federal funds rate in a "range from 0 to 1/4 percent." The Fed funds rate has remained unchanged since late-2008 at its lowest level ever. The discount rate also was left unchanged at 0.75%.

The Fed upgraded its assessment of the economy indicating that the recovery "is on a firmer footing." Despite increases in commodity prices and concerns about global supply raising oil prices, the Fed indicated that longer-term inflation expectations and underlying inflation have remained stable or subdued. The Fed expects that the effects from higher oil prices will prove "transitory."

The FOMC will continue expanding its holdings of securities as announced in November. In particular, the Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its securities holdings and intends to purchase $600 billion of longer-term Treasury securities by the end of the second quarter of 2011.

A complete text of the Fed's latest press release can be found here.

The Haver databases USECON, WEEKLY and DAILY contain the figures from the Federal Reserve Board.

  Current Last 2010 2009 2008
Federal Funds Rate, % (Target) 0.00 - 0.25 0.00 - 0.25 0.17 0.16 1.93
Discount Rate, % 0.75 0.75 0.72 0.50 2.39
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